One of the world's most powerful supercomputers

The Netherlands’ most powerful computer is being built in Amsterdam to help power advanced scientific research. The Lenovo Data Center Group (DCG) is creating the new supercomputer for SURF, a Dutch tech cooperative of universities, schools, research institutes and university medical centres. The €20 million computer will be housed in the Amsterdam Data Tower at Amsterdam Science Park. Construction is set to begin in the new few weeks, with phase one of the new system expected to be operational by the summer.

The new supercomputer will utilise Lenovo ThinkSystem servers with AMD Epyc processors, Nvidia A100 Tensor Core GPUs and Nvidia Mellanox HDR InfiniBand networking. It will have a peak performance of 14 petaflops. Based on the latest TOP500 list, this would mean it would place in the top 30 of the world’s most powerful computers. The new system is replacing the national supercomputer Cartesius, which can produce 1.3 petaflops.

The new supercomputer will be used by more than 100 education and research institutions throughout the Netherlands, helping to power research and scientific studies in a range of disciplines, including meteorology, astrophysics, medical and social sciences, and materials and earth sciences. Lenovo says its Neptune water-cooling technology will remove around 90% of the heat generated by the system. The Dutch government will provide €18m to the project, with SURF providing the remaining €2m.

“The need of researchers for computing power, data storage, and processing is growing exponentially. In the design of the new supercomputer, the usability for scientific research was paramount,” said Walter Lioen, SURF's research services manager. “SURF has chosen Lenovo because of its quality, performance and future flexibility, as well as its considerations for sustainability.”

Good news for industry in Amsterdam

The news is a boon for industry in the Amsterdam Area, especially the tech and life sciences and health sectors. They are intrinsically connected in the region, as academic research is carried out at world-class higher-learning institutes that often partner with corporates, startups and other institutions on new projects, This is helping to revolutionise healthcare and accelerate the use of big data to empower medical professionals to provide better patient care.

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